Mental health care professionals have minimum requirements for continued learning in order to renew and maintain their licenses. There are plenty of interesting conferences to attend that will fulfill this requirement, and some may even be in locations that make your conference part vacation, part work. As a mental health professional, what is your approach to continued learning? Do you just complete the minimum to check off a box, or are you truly interested in constantly continuing your education for both you and your clients?
Fulfilling Your Responsibility
The requirements for maintaining your license are there for a reason. The fields of mental health and addiction recovery are ever-changing, and professionals need to keep up with new research, data, and practices. Within industry sources, you can easily find courses and lectures that fulfill these requirements. A therapist, for example, could fulfill these requirements in a weekend per year on average here in California.
Doing the bare minimum allows you to maintain your license and continue practicing, and after all, you are likely very busy. Many mental health professionals were overwhelmed with caseloads even before COVID-19, and fulfilling your responsibility is all that is asked. You will be keeping up with new information and expanding your knowledge.
Some mental health and addiction recovery professionals are truly seeking learning. When choosing the lectures or courses, they seek subjects that appeal to them and that they are curious about. If you fall into this category, you may have a special interest in a particular subject or field that you are drawn to. Or perhaps you simply are curious about everything and are always looking for new areas of interest.
This curiosity can extend into your work with your clients. When you have a thirst for knowledge, it can be infectious. Perhaps you will even inspire a client to enter the addiction recovery or mental health field because you are always seeking and sharing new information with them. Working in this field can be very challenging, but as you seek more learning, you can find new ways to help and inspire your clients and find more rewards in your day-to-day work.
Learning a New Skill or Modality
In addition to fulfilling the minimum requirements and even beyond seeking learning, have you considered learning a new skill or modality? For example, if you are interested in art, music, animals, the outdoors, or other experiential therapies, you could invest your continued learning time in becoming certified to practice art or music therapy, animal therapy, or outdoor or adventure therapy.
This would serve to not only fulfill your requirements but also combine something that you love into your skillset. Many of these certifications do not take up that much more time than the basic requirements but would expand your knowledge and skills. You would not only become a greater asset to your employer but also become a greater resource for your clients. Experiential learning for adolescents is important and is often far more successful than just talk therapy.
Continuing Your Education
Some addiction recovery and mental health professionals have a thirst for learning that cannot be quenched, or at least a desire to achieve greater academic status. Continuing your education by adding another degree in the same or an adjacent field is particularly commendable. As you continue to improve yourself and your value to employers, you also improve yourself for your clients.
Particularly when you are working with adolescents, demonstrating the importance of education and continuing beyond a basic degree and certification can help them to learn to value education as well. While going to school and managing your caseload can be difficult, you are raising the bar of education and care in the addiction recovery and mental health fields.
Continuing Your Learning for Your Clients
Those in the mental health and addiction recovery fields are not in it for money, fame, or glory. These fields are certainly not for everybody. So many people in these fields are genuinely caring human beings, though, and are motivated by the idea of helping others and creating change.
This desire is what also motivates you and other professionals like you to continue your learning for your clients. You want to be able to offer them the best care, so you are willing to become the best addiction recovery or mental health professional that you can. Your thirst for knowledge and your willingness to learn new skills and modalities to help your clients improves not only the services you can provide but also the person that you are.
As a professional in the field of addiction recovery or mental health, you have the opportunity to continue your learning to suit your needs and availability. You also have the opportunity to seek more learning, learn a new skill or modality, or even continue your education by seeking further degrees and certifications. Sustain Recovery supports professionals like you and all that you do for your clients. Our extended treatment program may be helpful for some of your clients who have struggled to succeed in traditional programs. We are located in Irvine, California, and we treat adolescents with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Our program offers structure and accountability coupled with compassion and individualized treatment. Our clients progress at their own pace, and we slowly integrate them back home. We also help connect them with support before they go home to continue their recovery. Call us at (949) 407-9052 if you think our program would help someone you know.